Washington, D.C.: Meeting Senators

Submitted by Tonisha Hurd on the 2017 spring semester program in Washington, D.C. …

This week I met Senators Bernie Sanders and Corey Booker. What was interesting was that I saw them outside of the workplace and my interactions with both were completely different. When interacting with Bernie, he seemed tired and like he did not care about who we were. Although I am just a college intern, his demeanor made me feel like I was nobody and that I had no right to be excited to see him. On the other hand, Senator Booker was extremely polite. He walked up and down the food store aisles with a smile on his face. Then, when I finally mustered up some courage to ask for a picture, he was delighted! On this program, I have learned that everything is not what it seems. On television, Senator Sanders seemed to be one to truly care about the people, but in real life I saw otherwise. I am still happy to have had the experience and I now know that everyone plays different roles as to how they communicate with others.

 

 

Italy: Social Conditions

Submitted by Nikki Dombrowski on the 2017 spring semester program in Rome, Italy…

Currently, I am taking a Sociology of Modern Rome class in which we walk through the different neighborhoods of Rome and learn about the social history of the inhabitants and the major monuments which occupy these communities. Through this class and my travels, coupled with my experiences at Delaware, many thoughts have been ignited in my mind about how greatly situations of poverty can vary across the world. During a University of Delaware Alternative Spring Break trip to Washington D.C. in 2015, I was able to learn about urban poverty while teaching at a preschool for homeless children. The following year, the same program allowed me to volunteer my time at a homeless community in Orland, Maine in which I learned a lot about rural poverty. Now, here in Rome, I have learned about the situations of the secluded families that live in poverty in isolated and inaccessible neighborhoods outside of the city. Additionally, while my train rolls through the countryside of central Italy during my weekend travels, I discover an entirely new type of poverty. It has been so interesting to reflect upon the different living conditions, yet shared experiences between people all over the world. I hope to begin volunteering my time here in Rome with different organizations that work with people in poverty so that I can learn more, which will allow me to take a newfound knowledge to my future career.

Attached are two photos from my travels this past weekend. The first is me in front of a beautiful view of the entire city of Siena. The second is a photo I look of the incredible cathedral that sits in the center of the city of Siena.

A Weekend in Ireland

Submitted by Samantha Minatti on the 2017 spring semester program in Barcelona, Spain…

The other week me and two of my friends traveled to Ireland for the weekend. We flew Ryanair for the first time. I was a bit nervous because I had heard that they were very strict about bags. They didn’t even check our bags, but there was a two hour delay on our flight and it was a bit bumpy. Later on the trip, several of the locals we met at Ireland joked about how they would “never ride Ryanair again.” I think that considering the price difference I would definitely ride it again and I’ve already booked two other flights with them.

We arrived pretty late at night and took a cab to our AirbNb. The AirbNb we were staying at was a bedroom in a women’s house. There were three of us for one bed, but we made it work. I think that we all agreed that we prefer the AirbNb to the hostel because we had our own space and more privacy.

We were up early the next day for a bus trip we had booked to see the Cliffs of Moher. We got on the bus at 7:15 am and didn’t arrive at the cliffs till about noon. We slept a lot of the drive, but looking outside was absolutely breathtaking as we got into the countryside. It was a cloudy day, but the cliffs still looked absolutely incredible. My roommates went this past weekend with clear skies and said they were actually tearing up it was so incredible. I would 100% say that it is worth the long trip out there.

 

 

 

 

On the way back, we stopped in a really cute town called Doolan and got an incredible lunch. I got cod, which I had never tried before and it was really good. We also stopped by the water where in the summer they have boat tours that bring you out to see the cliffs from the water. The waves were too unsafe this time of year to go out. On the drive back we went down through Galway. Looking out the window was really beautiful since the scenery rapidly changed. There was so much farmland and natural rock sculptures at every corner.

The next day our plan was to explore Dublin. We were surprised by how walk-able the city was. It didn’t take us more than 20 minutes to get from one side to the other and see all the places we wanted. We ended up going to a lot of really great restaurants, a few parks, a castle and the prison. That night, we met up with one of my friends from home and got dinner and they took us to some of the local places they went out to with live music. The live music was one of my favorite parts about Dublin. The people were definitely the most friendly of all the cites I’ve been to so far.

Meeting Famous People in Washington, D.C.

Submitted by Rony Baltazar-Lopez on the 2017 spring semester program in Washington, D.C. …

This week has been another exciting week here in Washington, D.C. The environment here in D.C. is that of people who are always busy yet thrilled to be so close to our government. On Tuesday after work, I visited the nearest supermarket to get some supplies and to my surprise, Senator Bernie Sanders was shopping there, too. I was very fortunate to have been able to get my photo taken with him despite him not being at work, and so it reminded me that people in government are people, too. On Wednesday, I gave my first Capitol Tour—since one of my requirements as an intern is to give tours—and that was my most stressful job yet since I am not as familiar with the Capitol as other people are. On Friday, Dr. Freel took us to NPR headquarters and showed us around—and we even got to talk to Dominic Montanaro who is the lead director of the NPR politics show. I am very excited for the third week here in our nation’s capital.

Italy: Weekend in Venice

Submitted by Bridget Hartigan on the 2017 winter session study abroad program in Florence, Italy sponsored by the Department of Art…

This weekend, we traveled to Venice. The train station was about a 30 minute walk from our apartment. Since it was our first time using the train since we’ve been in Italy, we got there way too early. But once we were on the train, it wasn’t long until we saw water and the gorgeous view of Venice on the horizon. When we got out of the train station, we immediately were stunned by the beautiful view of the Grand Canal. As we walked toward our B & B, the roads began to narrow and the path got very hard to determine. The streets were narrow and it felt as if we were walking in circles. Finally, we found the building we were staying in and the view was breathtaking. Our house was right on a canal, which overlooked a small piazza. After we got settled in, we wandered around and found a small authentic Italian restaurant. The servers spoke very broken English, which allowed us to practice the little bit of Italian we knew. We spent the evening wandering around San Marco and exploring the various streets and piazzas of Venice. In the morning, there was a fresh blanket of snow on the ground which made the city seem peaceful and beautiful. However, we were nervous it would jeopardize our chance to get a gondola ride on the canal before we had to leave that evening. Luckily, we were still able to find a gondolier that would take us out on the canal on the brisk, windy morning. Since it was so cold, there were not many other boats on the water, which added a serene feeling to the experience. Our gondolier gave us brief descriptions of some of the major churches and bridges in Venice, and informed us that there were over 300 bridges and 150 churches just in Venice alone. Although it was absolutely freezing, the gondola ride was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget.

Spain: Catalan Culture

Submitted by Justin Verhaaren on the 2017 spring semester program in Barcelona, Spain…

This week we experienced some Catalan traditions. We ate Calcots. Calcots are long onions that are barbecued and are a traditional starting dish of Catalan. Going with the theme of Catalan traditions,the entire weekend was the festival of Santa Eulalia. The festival consisted of a Correfoc which translates to fire run, where citizens dress up as devils and shoot off fireworks as they run around. Next on the agenda were Casterellas which is where groups compete to make the tallest human tower, a well known and widely photographed tradition. After all of these activities, the festival ended with the parade of giants which are giant paper-mache dolls that are carried through the street. Being able to experience all of this historical culture really made me reflect on some of the things we do back in the United States that don’t date back nearly as long as these traditions have been occurring and I am happy I got to experience it.

Culinary Experiences in Italy and France

Submitted by Alison Treglia on the 2017 winter session program in Italy sponsored by the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department of Physics & Astronomy…

I never thought that there would be a world where I could possibly get tired of eating bread and cheese, but that day has come. After almost three weeks what I’ve been craving to eat most in Italy is a salad, which is surprisingly hard to come by. The best bet is something called “insalata buffalo” that features a big hunk of mozzarella cheese with some cabbage on the side. However, the meals here have been fantastic and I’ve had no complaints for the meals. This past weekend, I was in Naples for the day and literally ate the best pizza in the entire world.

This pizzeria is known as the birthplace of pizza and if you go to Naples you HAVE to eat here. The pizzas are huge and the taste is superb.

In Paris, I had the best French onion soup at this little hole-in-the-wall restaurant down an alley. It featured a big ball of fresh provolone cheese melted in a bowl of decant onions and broth with a hunk of bread waiting for you to finish at the bottom.

And of course, when in Paris you have to eat macaroons. So here’s a photo of me eating a milk chocolate passion fruit macaroon from one of the fanciest bakeries I’ve ever been to.

One night in Paris, we got fondue and it was divine. It was at a restaurant owned by Greeks and the night turned out to be one for the memories. Plates were smashed, music was danced to, and we all got to watch our professor embrace his inner Greek. Unfortunately, I didn’t try any escargot on account of being vegetarian, but all of my friends who tried snails loved them!

And now I’ll finish this blog post with a shot of expresso like you would drink typically after lunch in Italy.

Australia: Coastal Walk

Submitted by Emily Levin on the 2017 spring semester program in Sydney, Australia…

The coastal walk from Coogee to Bondi was one of  the most incredible walks I have done here in Australia. We started out at Coogee Beach with a swim in the water and then started walking up the rocks. The first thing we saw was a memorial for 5 baseball players who had all died in a tragic accident in Denpasar, Bali in 2002. I thought it was really amazing to see all of the fresh flowers that had clearly been placed there recently and the notes from people who were complete strangers. Something I have noticed here in Australia, is that they are a very close knit community and people who are strangers to one another are much more friendly and loving than you would expect.

As we continued our walk, we came along a bay which you could automatically tell was the locals spot. There were no life guards and everyone was in the bay on floating rafts drinking beer. It was interesting to see people in the bay with drinks, as this is not something that would be accepted in the United States. Although, everyone seemed to have bottles and cans of beverages, there was no littering on the beaches. As someone who lives in a beach town in the United States, littering on the beaches is a major issue. I feel as though the people here in Australia have a better understanding of what is right and wrong with many things, littering just being one of them. Our next stop along the walk was Bronte Beach where we swam in a salt water pool that spilled over into the ocean. The view was amazing and we even saw someone surfing extremely far out, riding the waves that were crashing off of the rocks far out in the ocean. We finished our walk at Bondi Beach where we hopped on a bus at a bus station back to our apartment. While in line for the bus, we met a couple that were locals and started talking to them about the public transportation system. They told us that they didn’t even have cars and that most people in Sydney just use public transportation. As someone who relies heavily on a car for transportation at home, I found this very interesting.

 

Exploring Budapest, Hungary

Submitted by Jenna Sherman on the 2017 spring semester program in Rome, Italy…

This weekend was my first time traveling out of Italy. We went to Budapest, Hungary and it was incredible. It’s funny, because I am now so accustomed to Italy that I was using certain things I do there in Budapest! For example, I would accidentally use basic Italian words to the waitress or cab driver without realizing it. I don’t speak Italian, but by being here for a month, I have picked up on some of the important lingo that you need to get around. Other than that, my friends and I did the thermal baths, which were really cool. We also saw Parliament, the opera house, went to the top of a cathedral and saw two different Holocaust memorials. The last was special to me because I am a grandchild of Holocaust survivors. Budapest is a small city, but it’s really different from any city that I have been to. It was more quaint and relaxed. The food there was mostly Mediterranean, which was a nice break from pizza and pasta. In Budapest, they use Hungarian Forints that are counted in thousands, which I found a little confusing. This trip really showed me how much I have gotten used to Italian culture since I’ve been living in Rome.

Exciting Lifestyle in Washington, D.C.

Submitted by Kaitlin Christof on the 2017 spring semester program in Washington, D.C. …

This week we had a lot of interesting experiences in D.C. We attended Senate debates on the EPA nominee on Thursday night. On the same night, one of my roommates and I attended a birthday celebration for Congresswoman Blunt Rochester, who we both intern for. D.C. is a fun city because you never know who you’ll run into. One night when we got groceries, we saw Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Cory Booker. As someone who wants to live down here after I graduate, this program is giving me a lot of amazing experience!